[LATEST UPLOAD: Monday November 4, 2019 – 4:00 pm Central Time]
The streets of London and all its chaos sounded like another world through the walls of Claridge’s—London’s premier hotel.
Queenie sat up on the big bouncy bed, next to her, Tiger. His smile, she would store in heart forever. Buoyed by their lavish surroundings, mother and son raised their posteriors off the bed. And then in unison, they flopped themselves into the cotton stuffed mattress. “Again!” Queenie whispered with a mischievous glint in her eyes to her son to repeat the joyful process. This time they added plenty oomph, so their bodies met their elevated spirits in the ether, above the sparkling crystal chandelier.
After a while, the novelty wore off.
The sound of plumbing in the next room reminded Queenie of how fortuitous life can be and that there was a price for everything. Her eyes followed the clanging and movements on the other side of the wall until a door handle released a latch, and out of the wall appeared Heatherington like rodent following its nose.
“And where do you suggest I lay down?” Heatherington sounded like someone whose family had an account Claridge’s, which is how they came to be in such plush surroundings.
“If you lay down on the sofa,” Queenie began. “We will,” she paused. Realizing she’d used “we” instead of “I,” she quickly added, “we will… take you to America with us to see Tiker!”
“Tata,” Tiger pointed at Heatherington, still wearing his canvass top hat.
“No, not tata, son. Hever-ring-tin! Never tata. Tata in America,” Queenie corrected the boy as Heatherington went to the sofa.
It relaxed Queenie enough to sit back against the headboard of the four-poster bed. At least Heatherington wasn’t after anything of a carnal nature.
Tiger lay his head on his mother’s stomach and began humming a tune “mmm, mmm, mmm…”
“Can you hear that, son?” A surprised mother asked as she wrapped her arm around him.
Preserving one’s dignity wasn’t something that Tiker was used to. Nevertheless, he held his head high as he lowered himself into the steaming hot tub. He was careful, not to wet the cigar in his hand.
Across the room, “ah! Here they are, business ventures for the future,” Botham read to himself from a journal. After a minute, “I don’t think any of those ideas will work,” he admitted as he closed the book and rounded his desk and sat on the front of it.
Seated on two sofas facing the desk, were six black men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-three. In between the sofas was Sovrin in his wheelchair.
Tiker was eager to see what Botham’s next move would be. And after a few self-conscious moments, Tiker reached for the whiskey bottle on the chair next to the wooden clawfoot tub.
It caught Botham’s attention. His expression could’ve stripped the varnish from the desk he was so pompously perched upon.
“What’s the problem?” Tiker’s patience was wearing thin.
“When I agreed for you to take a bath, it was under the agreement that I would have your full cooperation in coming up with plausible ideas for an enterprise that used all the human resources at our disposal. Not for you to get drunk in a sauna!”
“What’s a sauna? Tiker countered with a grin out of spite rather than curiosity. “Okay, okay!” Tiker changed his tone, and then he drew deep from the cigar. “Okay! Business ideas! Tiker mocked as he let the smoke waft to cover his face. “Here we go! A service where these fine upstanding gentlemen,” Tiker pointed with the cigar at the former slaves on the sofas, “picks up persons wishing to travel from A to B in a carriage and delivers them to their destination.”
Botham nodded as he thought about the idea. “Interesting, but horses, carriages, feed, stables. That’s a lot of overheads.”
“Okay! How about a book! In it, pictures of people who want to meet other people and these buggers can sell the books?”
“A book of faces?” Botham asked.
“Yeah, a book of faces. Nah. Sorry, here’s one, if you wanted, you could charge people to stay the night at your home like a pretend hotel with a personal touch?” Tiker carried on until his voice was drowned out by laughter from the men.
“I got it! Botham shouted. “I have it! The answer!”
Tiker could see the conviction in Botham as he proudly announced he’d found the solution to their problem of how they were going to make a living.
“Mmm, mmm, mmm,” Tiker began humming a tune that seemed to have circumnavigated all matter and feasible notion. And now it enveloped him, Botham, Adam, Auston, Dick, Sovrin, George, Tame and York in a cocoon of sugary melody with phat bass notes that rendered one, satisfied.
NEW ORLEANS 2019
Standing on the corner of Bourbon and St Peter, New Orleans, on a Monday afternoon in November, Terrence Miller looked like any other fresh-faced African American grad student. At six-three, the former sprinter hunched himself a lot of the time to keep those around him at ease.
“Special agent, god damn!” Miller reflected on how well life was going for him as he smiled and then waved at someone in the distance.
Miller ran over the description of the person he was meant to meet. White male in his sixties reminds you of Mr. Rogers in a winter coat over a grey suit as one of the legends of the Game Mr. Businessman acknowledged Miller by motioning with his head for Miller to come to him before abruptly veering off into a doorway. “In here,” Mr. Businessman spat at Miller like they were already well acquainted before vanishing inside a bar on Bourbon Street.
Miller found his phone from the pocket of his leather jacket. Glancing at it, he thought it was some random notification.
“You’re on the GO bro!”
Inside, Miller used the natural grid of the room created by booths against the wall, tables, and then the bar to find Mr. Businessman. Of course, he was in the last booth before the dancefloor. Just like in the GUiOPERA.
And as he took a step toward the booth, music began to play. He wasn’t sure whether it was coming from inside the bar or from outside on the street. Regardless of where the music was coming from, it made Miller want to Crip-walk like when he was a boy on the streets of Cali…
Note: Emotional Techno Fiction is a sub-genre of Metafiction, a construct of Postmodernism.